Silent care

Having finally found a reliable Care Agency, I am still so dismayed at the actual care system.  They are all (well mostly) lovely ladies and come in smiling and actually turn up on time.  They are usually very efficient, speedy and do all they need to do, but they just don’t talk.  I can understand why my mum feels so isolated and lonely.

The carer arrives, says hello, goes about her business with a flurry, then departs.  Absolutely no communication in the meantime, unless they are talking to someone on their phone.  So the elderly person just sits there all day on their own virtually isolated from the rest of the world.  Yes their needs may be met, if they are lucky, but a few minutes talking about their day, the weather outside or even asking how they are would go such a long, long way.

Age UK provide a befriending service.  We did try it a couple of times and it was really good, but the people tend not to stay around.

Again, having mum come to live with me has brought home the harsh reality of actually living on your own when you are housebound – just sitting in front of the tv all day and having no friends still alive or anyone to chat to. The evenings are the worse.

My mum is lucky in that she does have one friend who pops in once a week and her sister visits, plus me now, but what about all those other people who don’t have this.  There was a ‘running group’ I heard about once, where runners would pop into an elderly neighbour on their route.  I don’t know whatever happened to that, and I can imagine there are privacy/security/safeguarding and all sorts of other issues to consider, but honestly if you live next to an elderly neighbour, I cant stress enough the importance of actually popping in if only once a week to just have a quick chat. Just do it.

Alive and kicking (almost)

Well mum survived the night and actually slept really well, but she has now got into the habit of calling me about 7am for a cup of tea!  She is also complaining that I am not a happy bunny when she calls me in the middle of the night!  Well that is probably because I am still half asleep!  She complained I am like the carers who were in the home as they would just come in and say ‘what do you want?’  It is completely different – they are paid to smile, I’m not!

I must admit I have been getting slightly ratty, but that was because I couldn’t help her.  Nothing I seemed to do reduced her sickness or pain, but apparently I should have just come in and given her a hug! As if that would have worked when she was writhing with pain.  Anyway, these things go two ways!

Everything is so one-sided.  She rarely says thank you, expects me to be there constantly at her beck and call, turning on the light, passing her glasses, picking up something she has dropped, getting her a drink or food – this is on top of the assistance in getting her on and off the commode or cooking her meals etc.  It is relentless and generally unappreciated.  I promised myself that I wouldn’t turn this blog into a complaint but…

 

Bad week

It has been a week of pain and vomiting and complaints and I have not been able to resolve anything.

It started with mum throwing up on the transport on the way home from her day centre. Not unusual.  This was Tuesday.  She got some opiod patches from the GP on Wednesday for the pain and was fine, but the following day threw up on the transport home. We put it down to the heat and travel sickness, but she continued to feel ill on Friday and vomited again in the evening.  So now I didn’t know if it was the medication!

I tried taking one of the patches off (the GP said we could use two if necessary) but had to put it back on again in the end (with the help of some surgical tape) as she complained the pain was too bad.  The pain eventually did subside, but mum was not happy as I was reluctant to give her anything else for the pain.

Now she feels dizzy as well as sick, but at least the vomiting appears to have stopped.

 

The whole week has been a strain.  She clearly doesn’t know where to put herself and is no doubt getting anxious as I am going away in a couple of weeks.  She has been calling me in the night, complaining that none of the buzzers or phone works, called the watch alarm people out because the carer was a bit late and has been generally unhappy.  She said she doesn’t want to be a nuisance but wants someone with her all the time, which just isn’t possible.  Even in the Residential Home that didn’t happen, though she now thinks that was wonderful – short memory!  I can’t do any more than I am.  In the end, I gave in and gave her two paracetamol, two phenergan (for the sickness) and two senna tablets (for the constipation) on top of her medication last night and she seemed to have slept through – unless she has died…..I am too frightened to look!  Or I just didn’t hear her from exhaustion…I will find out in a minute 😦

 

Night out

Got invited to dinner tonight, but it meant leaving my mum on her own.  The last carer came at 6pm but had nothing to do.  Mum had come back from her club wet and having thrown up on the transport, so I had already changed her and got her ready for bed. As soon as the carer left and I had my coat on, mum then asked for a cup of tea, commode, fan etc clearly panicking that I was going to leave her for hours on end.  By the time I arrived at the restaurant, I was late and looked a mess.  Everyone else looked so calm and relaxed and, as it turned out, had far worse things going on in their lives than I had.

I was actually home by 9.30pm but managed to eat and drink far too much in that couple of hours, on the excuse of being stressed – why do I do that?  I go out determined to have a salad and end up having the most fattening dish on the menu plus a desert!  I seemed to be set on a downward spiral heading towards obesity and diabetes.  I really need to take some control and responsibility over my diet and actually exercise – I have one of those ‘pay and don’t go’ gym memberships!

Practicalities

A good friend reminded me today about insurance!  Having a keysafe and carers coming in and out of the house might invalidate my present house contents cover!!

Immediately I got home from work, I rang the Insurance company to check my policy. The lady who answered the phone was extremely helpful and understanding and confirmed that they would cover me at no extra charge.  However, she then proceeded to tell me that I actually didn’t have contents cover with them, only buildings insurance!  Could I remember who does cover my contents – not a chance!  So embarrassing!

I did eventually remember, but will have to phone tomorrow now.  Hopefully they will be just as helpful, but if not at least I know who to change to now.  And an important lesson – to be better organised!!!

Selling up

I am actually dreading putting mum’s house on the market.

One it means there is no turning back and two it will be upsetting for mum.

It’s also one more problem to have to deal with – getting the right price, clearing out the furniture, sorting out all the paperwork, old photos, ornaments, cleaning materials, crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, clothing and all the other stuff she has collected over the years.  I have done this before for my grandmother and I know that their whole life is just going to end up in a small shoebox!

Plus I have to arrange energy certificates etc and cope with all the viewings, assuming there are some.  Housing market is really quiet now after Brexit and the election apparently and prices have fallen – typical!

Selective hearing

Mum had a fall last night. She tried to use the commode and slipped off.  It was only when my husband starting pushing me, that I realised that the loud ringing I could hear was her calling for help!

All the years I cared for my daughter, I seemed to sense in advance if she was ill.  Even though she no longer lives with us, I still know when she is unwell.  For some reason I just don’t hear my mum!!  I have a video camera in the room with 2 way audio as well as a doorbell and I still don’t hear her.

Tonight she had to press the watch alarm.  I just managed to get to the phone before they turned up.  I forgot to tell them that mum was sleeping in the front room, so they are likely to bound up the stairs into our bedroom one night! Think I had better get that one sorted out early on.

It was a real struggle to pick her up.  I didn’t want to ask my husband as he has been ill himself lately and also has a bad shoulder, but I thought I might have to.  Mum knew to cross her arms, but it was only after a few unsuccessful attempts that I realised she was keeping her legs straight! No wonder I was struggling.  I got her half up and we both fell on the bed.  Eventually, after a lot of struggling, she managed to get into bed properly but they really should provide the family with training on how to lift someone.

Anyway thank goodness she was okay, but we seem to be going backwards.  She was starting to manage in the night, but her leg has been playing up the last few days and she has been having trouble standing.  Painkillers are not helping so it may be connected with her stroke – I have been reading about post stroke pain – and if it is that there is apparently not much they can do about it!  Looks like we are back to some disturbed nights again.